The Short, Happy Life of J. Alfred Macomber

Sequoia National Park a little before sunset, little strength in my hand. A nubby pencil I pray won’t break.


A poem:

Here sits Alfred McComber, leaning on a tree, d—y—i-n-g.

A prayer:

If I should die before I wake … a bear ate me! haha

Or that mountain lion.

These are my dying tweets. Old–school tweets—on paper. The dying tweets of a Twitter–sized life.

I sit against a giant sequoia, far, far from the trail. A wise old tree, Colonel Mustard I call him. He’ll hear my poem.


The Death Song of J. Alfred Prufrock


The Death Song of J. Dylan Thomas!

“Rage, rage against the dying of the light!”

How can I rage when I can’t even stand?

Note to self: Exclamation points are exhausting.


The Bucket List Of J. Alfred Prufrock

* Take one last tour around the glade.

* Learn to speak owl.

* Admire the delicacy of this fern until the sun sets, then do it again when the sun rises, I hope.

* Meet each star by name.


The Regrets of J. Alfred Prufrock

Not following Matt and Nick into the school that Saturday when I was eleven and the door was unlocked and they ran through the halls and ate in the cafe.

Not following Matt and Chuck onto the roof of the Press’s’ house, or anywhere else.

Not staying funny after people said to quit the dumb jokes.

Not writing poetry after middle school, or ever reading a poem to a girl.

Not going away to college.

Not leaving my cube.

Not boldly going where no man had ever gone before.

Until eight days ago, when I followed the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, a spotted fawn bounding through the brush and up a steep slope.


Things I don’t regret

Staring at a mountain lion who stared back at me with deep understanding.

Observing an ant and its precision actions with microscope eyes.

Letting a banana slug rest on my cheek like a good friend.

Watching a little yellow flower open up every morning to drink the dew.

Seeing that same deer walk into the glade like a ballerina a few days later, seeing her blinking at me and then munching on leaves like my dinner companion before bounding off again.

Plunging my gaze up into a cold black sky of ten–thousand stars.

Living under those stars.

Dying under them.

Joining them.


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